Dissecting Emotional Intelligence

Real Window Creative

How does it help us and what happens if we don’t develop this crucial skill?

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"Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame." — Benjamin Franklin

Your Default State

Who knows where it all starts, you’ve heard the question, nature or nurture right? For the purpose of this writing, it doesn’t really matter, the real question is “do we want to stay stuck?”

Somewhere along the line I started to say “a lesson I choose to learn” instead of blaming it on my parents or some other thing outside of me.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer used to say we choose our parents before coming into being. Even though that one is tough to get my head around, it helped me take more responsibility.

There was plenty of drama in my childhood home, accompanied by loud words being strewn about. My Mother would feel so much anxiety at times, she just had to lash out, then shut down having a cigarette trying to process her emotions. She was half of my role models.

The other half would also become emotional and flee, leaving me to wonder what was going on in his head. Teachers at school seemed very emotional back then as well.

Read more about that story later in the article The Big Drawer in the Principals Desk in Elementary School.

Wait, I did just say I was taking more responsibility, OK, I’ll try to model that.

"If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far." — Daniel Goleman

Drilling Down

Have you ever harmed yourself or another in an emotional outburst?

Once, back in the day, my then girlfriend asked me to pick her up at school. She wanted to go for a motorcycle ride and I had one. She was a year younger then me, I had already graduated and slipped out of work early.

After arriving, looking around, she was nowhere to be found, so I waited. Then went inside asking if anyone had seen her, someone had and they reported she had left with another guy.

My blood pressure skyrocketed, so I jumped on my motorcycle and took off as if drag racing. There was an S curve just ahead and when I tried to veer left to make the turn a huge error surfaced. I had neglected to fold up the kick-stand and that made it impossible to navigate the curve.

Hitting the curb, I tumbled into the ravine next to it. Embarrassed and injured, I hastily tried to right the bike and noticed dirt covering the headlight. Impulsively, I tried to brush it off with my hand not being present to the broken glass under the mud, cutting a couple fingers badly.

Big chunks of glass were now embedded in my hand.

The baseball team was practicing, heard the crash and came running over to check on me. Again my agitation increased worried more about what they would think then slowing down and paying attention.

A friend of mine who was on the team was one of the first to arrive. As I struggled to push the bike back onto the roadway, simultaneous verbal complaints were escaping my larynx about the girl.

I’ll never forget what he did, touching me on the shoulder he assertively said, “Chris, brother take it down about a thousand.” My brain repeats this to me at least several times a week. Unfortunately, there are many more stories similar to the one above.

More thoughts on this idea in my article The Problems and Perils of Hurrying.

"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion." — Dale Carnegie

The Next Event Could Be Murder

Literally!

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million men and women.

Could any of this be occurring if the default mindset was to LOVE? NO but, how do we remember this in real time, in the fog of war?

One way may be to understand more about ourselves and the need to control outcomes. Bending the world and it’s humans to our own will, thinking we should have more influence than we do.

Imagine you are at work in an old building. Near your desk is an ancient oil radiator still in use. You can hear ticking and creaking as it expands and contracts while warming up and cooling down.

What would you do?

"The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart." — Rasheed Ogunlaru

Reactions

There are many options, you could simply get used to it, or bring some earplugs. You could ask to have your desk moved or petition the building owner to make an upgrade.

You could lose control and impulsively storm into your bosses office saying a little too much and too loud. Another option is to bring in a sledge hammer and beat it into submission, you could even turn off the power and shiver from the cold.

That brings up another good question, why don’t we curse the cold? Well, maybe you do, yet I bet deep inside you know the only control you have might be to move south. As a result of that acceptance, you don’t rail against it.

All those reactions are within our power to change something.

There is another option as well, upon hearing the noise, investigating and seeing the innocent oil banister you could feel relieved. Practicing being grateful for having a job, a roof covering it, and heat.

Counting blessings, even co-workers to talk with on break and lunch.

"When our emotional health is in a bad state, so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves." — Jess C. Scott

New Options and Other Humans

Now what if your investigation turned up a coworker tapping their pen on the desk. Would this change the reaction?

This scenario would certainly change some of your options. If you are like most people, this may be enough to make you think you have even more control. You could still do all of the above options and a few new ones.

You might, try to connect with your coworker and explain how the noise being created is distracting you. Or, start making some annoying noise of your own. He or she may even decide to show you how little power you have and make it even louder.

It could even end up getting escalated to HR as the two of you now are creating drama at work. You gossip about each other trying to gain allies, maybe one of you loses a Job?

The question I have is, why do we think we have more control over a human being compared to a physical object, or the weather? Certainly we are not going to walk over and yell obscenities at the radiator. Why is it seemingly harder to accept something another person is doing?

"No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."
— Theodore Roosevelt

Treating Objects Better Than People

An old live in girlfriend of mine used to complain, jealous of the way I connected with my dog when coming home from work. I would take him out in the yard, running around, giving him love. When she complained, I made her wrong and compared how she acted when I got home to him.

He would come running all excited, not her, I was mistaken not to listen and adjust to her want. It was not much longer before she vanished.

In the INC. article 9 Valuable Principles That Will Make You Treat People Better Lolly Paskal writes:

3. Treat everyone with kindness — not because they are kindhearted, but because you are. One of the greatest gifts we can give another is kindness. If someone is in need, lend a helping hand. Don’t do it only for the people you like and respect — that’s easy — but also for the ones who drive you crazy and those you don’t even know. True kindness lies in the act of giving without the expectation of getting something in return.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
― Plato

The Take Away

All I keep thinking are the words of Max Ehrmann written 93 years ago:

Desiderata

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

By Max Ehrmann © 1927
Original text

OK, I think that’s a wrap for now.

Cheers, Christopher

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My mission has developed into providing help to promote others getting what they want. I believe in the law of attraction, so who we are in the world attracts or repels people, places, and things to or from us. I write mostly about choices and how to develop best practices and be a productive happy member of the tribe. In addition, I'm a designer and photographer and I'll share related articles and how to pieces around those activities. I'm glad you are here, cheers, Christopher

Tacoma, WA
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